Saturday, 2 December 2017
NICARAGUA: Managua, Travel On Chicken Buses, Homosexuality Not Illegal Hence No Jail Sentence
The city has a population of roughly 1,800,000, composed predominantly of mestizos and whites; making it the second most populous city in Central America after Guatemala City.
Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua as well as of the department of the same name. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Managua, it is Nicaragua's largest city, with an estimated population in 2016 of 1,042,641 within the city limits.
A population of 1,401,687 in the metropolitan area, which additionally includes the municipalities of Ciudad Sandino, El Crucero, Nindiri, Ticuantepe and Tipitapa.
The city was declared the national capital in 1852. Previously, the capital alternated between the cities of Leon and Granada.
The 1972 Nicaragua earthquake and years of civil war in the 1980s severely disrupted and stunted Managua's growth. It was not until the mid-1990s that Managua began to see a resurgence.
Managua's population is composed predominantly of mestizos and whites who are mainly of Spanish descent, with a minority being of French, Jewish Nicaraguan, German Nicaraguan, Italian, Russian and Turkish descent.
Managua's location between the rival cities of Leon and Granada made it a logical and ideal compromise site in determining the nation's capital.
Managua's economy is based mainly on trade. The city is Nicaragua's chief trading center for coffee, cotton, and other crops. It is also an important industrial center. Its chief products for trade include beer, coffee, matches, textiles, and shoes.
The city has been witness to the rise and fall of political powers throughout Nicaragua's history and suffered devastating earthquakes in 1931 and 1972.
Managua is the economic, political, cultural, commercial and industrial center of Nicaragua. Since the 1972 earthquake, residential and business areas have been built on the outskirts of Managua. Residents of the city and of the department of Managua are called Managuas.
The neighborhood Jorge Dimitrov near TicaBus, while relatively quiet, is known as being less safe than other areas of the city.
Do not wander the streets after dark and avoid being a target, do not wear flashy jewelry. That being said, there are some great budget hotels in the area and is very convenient for travelers coming in from TicaBus.
Managua is located on the southern shores of Lake Xolotlan, also known as Lake Managua. Lake Xolotlan contains the same fish species as larger Lake Cocibolca in southeastern Nicaragua, except for the freshwater sharks found exclusively in the latter.
Once a Managuan scenic highlight, the lake has been polluted from the dumping of chemical and waste water since 1927.
A new sewer system and the redirecting of waste water to a new waste water treatment plant at Las Mercedes funded by the German government to decontaminate the lake is expected to be the largest in Central America and was inaugurated in 2009.
These works of progress have relieved old concerns over water pollution and the endangering of native wildlife have brought some residents closer to the old city center and the rest of the mainland.
Managua's city area extends about 544 square kilometres (210 square miles), essentially south from the south shore of Lake Managua.
The lakeshore is at an altitude of 55 metres (180 feet) above sea level, and the city climbs as it gets towards the Sierras de Managua further south where it is over 700 metres (2,297 feet) above sea level.
Geologically, the city lies on fault lines, thus seismologists predict that Managua will experience a severe earthquake every 50 years or less.
Managua features four smaller crater lakes or lagoons within city limits. The most centrally located is the Tiscapa Lagoon in the Tiscapa Lagoon Natural Reserve.
Tiscapa Lagoon is south of the old downtown and was formed approximately 3,000 years ago.
Asososca Lagoon, to the west, is Managua's most important source of drinking water. Asososca is at the beginning of Southern Highway, close to the connection with the New Highway to Leon.
Nejapa Lagoon, south of Asososca Lagoon, is also along the Southern Highway.
The fourth is Acahualinca Lagoon, located to the northwest close to the shores of Lake Xolotlan, it gives its name to the nearby district to the east. Acahualinca is noted for having shallow waters.
Managua, due to its tropical climate, varied topography, naturally fertile soils, and abundant rain and water sources, boasts a great variety of flora.
Many different types of trees, some of which are not found elsewhere in the world, appear, including chilamates, ceibos, pochotes, genizaros, tiguilotes, royal palms, pinuelas and madronos the Nicaragua's national tree surround the city.
During the rainy season of May to November, Managua becomes a lush city due to many palms, bushes, and other plants and trees which dominate the city's appearance.
Nicaragua is one of Latin America's economically friendly destinations. Its hotel, food and transportation costs are a fraction of its neighbors. Eating at local restaurants is extremely inexpensive, and for $30, a meal for four can be served at these locations.
Fast food locations are relatively similar to those in North America and Europe in terms of price. High-end restaurants are also affordable for people with Western salaries.
Foreign cuisine, like French and Italian specialties, are served at high-end locations for a lower price than found in North American and Western European cities.
Transportation is relatively inexpensive with bus trips for less than US$ 0.50 and low-cost taxi services if you are able to deal with the drivers. Hotels, as anywhere, vary from cheap hostels to full service five stars that can run into the thousands of cordobas.
Managua is the economic center and a generator of services for the majority of the nation. The city, with a population exceeding one million inhabitants, houses many large national and international businesses. It is home to many factories which produce diverse products.
Multinational companies such as Wal-Mart, Telefonica, Union Fenosa, and Parmalat have offices and operations in Managua. The city's chief products include beer, coffee, pharmaceuticals, textiles, shoes, matches, construction products, etc.
Her main trading products are beef, coffee, cotton, and other crops.Managua is also Nicaragua's main political, social, cultural, educational and economic hub.
At the same time, the city is served by the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport, the country's primary international gateway, and regional Los Brasiles airport and Punta Huete military air base, recently renewed.
Managua is also home to all of the major banks of the nation, Banco de la Producción (BANPRO), Banco de America Central (BAC), Banco de Finanzas (BDF), Banco de Crédito Centroamericano (Bancentro) and its parent company the Lafise Group. Several new hotels including Crowne Plaza, Best Western, InterContinental, Holiday Inn, and Hilton currently have facilities in Managua.
As well as many hotels, Managua has opened four western style shopping centers or malls, such as Plaza Inter, Centro Comercial Metrocentro, Galerias Santo Domingo,and Multicentro Las Americas,with many more being constructed.
There is a large established local market system that caters to the majority of Nicaraguans. In Mercado Roberto Huembes, Mercado Oriental, Mercado Israel Lewites and other locations one can find anything from household amenities, food, clothing, electronics, construction materials, and other contracting supplies.
The markets enjoy a substantial amount of popularity, as many of the backpacking, ecotourism-focused tourists and tourists on-a-budget use these markets for their supplies and souvenirs.
Managua is also currently experiencing an upsurge in real estate prices and as well as a housing shortage.
Foreigners, mainly from Anglo-America and Europe, are becoming interested in considering post-retirement life in Nicaragua, as the country has been mentioned by various media outlets due to its safety performance on major indexes and inexpensive lifestyle for tourists.
The capital is also in need of more office space in downtown Managua as the city's economy continues to grow.
Economists predict that its demand for commercial real estate will increase. New office buildings are currently being constructed along Carretera a Masaya and in Villa Fontana districts. The most recent inauguration being the Edificio Invercasa
Managua is Nicaragua's cultural capital, boasting several restaurants, theaters, museums, and a few shopping centers.The city is also home to many communities of immigrants and ex-pats from countries including but not limited to Taiwan, China, Germany, the United States, Palestine, and Latin American countries.
Managua is home to the annual Miss Nicaragua pageant; it is the national beauty pageant of Nicaragua. The pageant is traditionally held at the Ruben Darío National Theatre and has been held since 1955.
Due to the influence of immigrants and tourists, it is common to find food specialties of the diverse regions of Nicaragua jointly with international ones in Managua. The most common foods include rice, plantain, beans, and varieties of cabbage and cheeses.
There is a local tradition of cheese-making and it is not unusual to encounter fried cheese as a side dish with many of the most popular dishes such as fried plantain and gallo pinto, a regional traditional rice and bean dish.
Managua enjoys an array of international cuisine including Italian, Spanish, and French restaurants, as well as many Asian restaurants (South Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese).
The capital is also conspicuously dotted with many American restaurant chains such as Burger King, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Papa John's, and Subway, which have sprung up since the 1990s. Local and regional fast food chains exist as well, for example Tip-Top, Rostipollo, and Pollo Campero.
A strong tradition of preparing local sweets such as Cajeta de leche made of either condensed milk or sugared coconut and nuts can be found. Some local varieties of chocolate can be found also, usually prepared with pepper and other spices or nuts.
A fast food known as quesillo is popular throughout the country. Quesillo consists of locally produced cheese wrapped in a corn tortilla with sour cream, pickled onions, salt, and vinegar. Nacatamal, the Nicaraguan version of the tamale, is a local delicacy.
Many fruits such as mangos, jocotes, and mamones are a common snack. Mangoes and jocotes are often consumed while unripe with salt and vinegar.
Steak preparation is one of the strong points of the local cuisine. It is often accompanied by a special sauce known as Chimichurri, composed of oil, garlic and herbs.
There are many prominent steak restaurants throughout the country, among them Los Ranchos, and also including, but not limited to, Argentine, Brazilian, Chinese, French, German, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, and Spanish restaurants, as well as Nicaraguan.
Managua's most famous festival is that of its patron saint Santo Domingo de Guzman.
It starts on the morning of August 1, when the Bajada del Santo walk down of the saint involves many joyful people walking and carrying the old statue of Santo Domingo from Las Sierritas Church in south Managua to another church across the city to the north, in the area destroyed by the 1972 earthquake.
It remains here for ten days until the morning of August 10, when the Subida del Santo returns the statue to Las Sierritas Church where it remains for the rest of the year.
Thousands of people attend this event which involves dancing, eating, drinking and the marching of musical bands, mainly for traditions that date back to pre-colonial times, or to ask for personal miracles, make promises, or give thanks to the saint.
During the parade many people dress up in typical costumes, masks and painted bodies. Among other participants are carrosas or art cars and trucks from local business companies, horseriders coming from Nicaragua and other Central American neighbouring countries to show off their horses, skills, and horserider costumes.
Another festival taking place since 2003 is the Alegria por la Vida or Happiness for Life Carnaval is celebrated in Managua at the beginning of the month of March. There's a different slogan or theme every year.
This event is celebrated with parades, floats, live music, food and dancing as well as the march of the Carnival Queen.
Managua features many bars, nightclubs, casinos, theaters and cinemas. Compared to western prices, alcoholic beverages, theatre visits and cinema tickets are relatively inexpensive.
There are cinemas in all major shopping centers; screening both English- and Spanish-language films. Foreign embassies in Managua also sponsor film festivals.
Since the late 1990s and early 2000, many casinos and karaoke bars opened and have remained popular attractions for Nicaraguans and foreign visitors. Popular music includes the Palo de Mayo, Merengue, Cumbia and Latin pop among other Latin music genres, as well as American pop and rock.
Salsa dancing is a national pastime. Managua boasts a vibrant night life. Nightclubs and bars are abound in Managua, particularly, in the popular areas called Zona Viva located in the shopping mall Galerías Santo Domingo, as well as very close by Plaza Mi Viejo Santo Domingo and Plaza Familiar.
Other popular areas are Zona Hippos behind the Hilton hotel near Metrocentro and Zona Rosa.
Aside from these activities, Managua has a wide selection to offer in luxurious shopping malls, boutiques and department stores as well as local markets. In the Mercado Roberto Huembes shoppers can find everything from furniture, national arts and crafts, to fruits and vegetables, and clothing.
Pali, La Union, and La Colonia are conventional supermarkets, which are in several areas of the city and sell local and imported ingredients.
Although promoting or practicing homosexuality was illegal in Nicaragua, there is a modest gay social scene in Managua. As of March 2008, homosexuality is no longer illegal and no longer carries a prison sentence.
Augusto C. Sandino International Airport,Delta from Atlanta, United Airlines from Houston, Spirit Airlines from Fort Lauderdale and Houston, American Airlines from Miami and Dallas, and Avianca airlines from Miami.
Avianca also connects several times daily from San Salvador and COPA once daily from both San Salvador and Panama City. In addition Aeromexico connects once daily to Mexico City. Flights from Canada are less expensive and less troublesome via San Salvador than via Miami.
In the Winter, Air Transat (charter) flies non-stop from Montreal to Managua for packages primarily in Montelimar. Reliable airport pickups/dropoffs available through Mana-Ahuac Hoy
A great adventure is to visit Nicaragua on a motorcycle. The smells, the air, nature can be uniquely experience with a motorcycle.
If you are looking for a driver and car hire then check Taxi Managua who have selected a small number of reliable taxi drivers. All drivers are official airport Taxis.
There are direct bus routes from all major cities stopping at various points.
Buses from Rivas, Masaya, Granada, San Marcos and some from Jinotepe come in through the southeastern Carretera Masaya entrance and pass by the Centroamerica rotonda before going to either Mercado Huembes or UCA.
Buses from Jinotepe also come in through carretera Sur stopping by 7 Sur, a hub to go to via Carretera Nueva and Vieja Leon and C. Sur.
To go to the mountains in the north or the caribbean coast, buses leave from Mercado El Mayoreo.
Buses to/from Leon leave from bus station at UCA. Buses to/from Chinandega leave from Mercado Israel Lewites
AVIS Rent-a-car . They have offices at the International Airport, Montoya zone, Carretera a Masaya.Nicaragua
Budget Rent-a-car,Has 10 locations around Nicaragua. cars from $10 per day up.
Driving directions in Managua are not typical. In fact, they are often regarded as unique and confusing. The major earthquakes have left the city without a consistent and clear street address system. Although the government has made attempts to address this problem, directions are given relative to landmarks and distances.
For example, most addresses are given based on landmarks and with the directions al lago - North, towards the lake, arriba/abajo (east/west) and al sur to the South.
For example, to instruct a taxi driver to drop you off at Casa Ben Linder, the directions are en barrio Mosenor Lezcano, de donde fue el Banco Popular, 2 cuadras al lago, 2 cuadras arriba, which means, in the Monsenor Lezcano neighborhood, from where People's Bank used to be, 2 blocks towards the lake and 2 blocks East."
Please note that although the local bus network is extensive and organised, a recent smart card ticketing system has been introduced, making it impossible for visitors to get about. Getting the card is not simple, and bus drivers refuse to take cash.
Either look for a bus that accepts cash and card, slightly difficult, or persuade some stranger to accept you on their card. The system has rightly caused lots of controversy in the city. Do note that buses that leave to other cities or towns don't use this card system, pay with currency.
There is an online map of Managua's public transportation and schematic map.
110 goes from mercado Israel Lewites buses to Leon to mercado Roberto Huembes buses to Granada, passing on the way by the UCA, where microbuses leave for both Granada and León, as well as Masaya and other cities.
Buses to Granada, Leon, Jinotepe, Masaya, and Chinandega are also available at UCA (Universidad Centroamericana). Several city buses connect through UCA as well.
A regular trip within Managua costs 2.5 Córdobas. Most buses can only be boarded with a "TUC" card, you can get from MPeso. In bigger bus stops people will pass their card for C$5 for you. And every hour there should be at least one "Mixto" bus, that allows cash payment.
You may ask also always someone as the local people are very eager to help.
There are two things that make Managua special when compared to other Latin American cities. One is the fact that the former center was completely destroyed by the 1972 earthquake and only recently rebuilt.
It used to be a barren wasteland for years. Now there are squares, parks and new government buildings. The main boulevards are lined with colorful artificial trees, illuminated at night as if to express a festive mood.
The other factor is the presence and symbols of a revolutionary government that along with its people proved strong enough to resist USA dominance and intervention.
Nicaraguans are proud of their history and feel connected with other Latin American countries with a similar background like Cuba, Venezuela, Grenada, Bolivia and Chile under Allende. For this reason there is a big Chavez square with an image of the former leader, a puerto Salvador Allende etc.
National Palace of Culture. Among others there is an exhibition of colorful pré-Columbian art mainly pottery and a section with modern art from Nicaraguan soil.
Palacio Nacional is an attraction in its own right. Entrance fee: 5 USD.
Antigua Catedral de Managua. The old cathedral built in the 1920s, heavily damaged in the 1972 eartquacke is still a landmark building. The Swiss architect was Pablo Dambach. The metal frame was made in Belgium and shipped to Nicaragua, which was quite an entreprise at the time.
The cathedral ruin is condemned and well-guarded. At night it is nicely illuminated.
Puerto Salvador Allende. It is basically a parque-like well-maintained relax area on the shore of Lake Managua. There are restaurants, bars and thatched places to sit and watch the lake. Children love to ride one of the plastic horses or cows with a sombrero on their head.
Their parents take pictures of them. Nice to observe local tourists and of course the lake with volcanoes in the distance. Admission: free.
Revolution square. An important square for Nicaragua as this is the place where the Sandinistas celebrated victory after they overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in 1979. The USA government was not amused when the pictures were broadcast all over the world and their ally was forced into exile.
Bordering the square are the old cathedral, the national palace, casa de los pueblos and Parque Central with three eternal flames burning at a memorial for three national heroes, Santos Lopez, Fonseca and Borge (Commandantes of the FSLN).
There also are statues of Sandino and Ruben Dario, the national poet.
Tiscapa Lagoon. Fresh water lagoon in the crater of an extinct volcano. This is where you'll also find the landmark silhouette of Augusto Sandino as well as military memorials. There is a wonderful view over the city and Lake Managua.
Zip-lines over the lagoon let you fly across the water in a harness (for a fee). Entrance to the park: 1 USD.
Rotonda Ruben Dario. There is a lovely fountain at the Ruben Darío Rotonda that is lit up at night and visible from Tiscapa in Managua.
Huellas de Acahualinca, Monday to friday: 8AM to 5PM / Sa-Su : 9AM to 4PM. Footprints of a group of around 10 people that walked towards the lake 6000 years ago. The tracks were found 4 meters below the surface and were preserved thanks to a nearby volcano eruption.
Note that the site of the footprints is in a very bad neighborhood. You must take a taxi to get there and take a taxi to leave. Do not attempt to walk there. Adult : 4 USD.
New Cathedral, Near Rotonda Rubén Darío. Also called Catedral Metropolitana. Designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta and completed in Sept. 1993, some find this unusual Catholic church to be fascinating. Some find the roof's 63 domes to be sleek and mosque-like.
Locals have compared the domes to women's breasts. Most of the 4.5 million USD it cost to build was donated by a North American tycoon named Monaghan, the boss of Domino's Pizza.
Parque de la Paz, Area Monumental. Currently under reconstruction
Gambling,There are many casinos, large and small throughout Managua. If you like to play poker, there are 2 places to play: Princess Casino has a dollar game - $2-$5 blinds and a $100 minimum buy-in, and Nicaraoas has a cordoba game, blinds are 20-40 cords (~$0.70-$1.40).
Both generally start in the evenings around 7 P.M. Other than Texas Holdem, Blackjack and Caribbean Poker are available at Princess, Palms, Nicaraos, Pharaohs and Kingdom the 5 main casinos in Managua along with a multitude of machines.
There are many other machine-only casinos throughout the city such as Star City which has a number of locations. Sports betting can be found at Palms Casino where there is a Sportbook called Apuestele Nicaragua. Apuestele has a big lounge and 12 big screen TVs where they show all the games.
Play billiards, There are at least three good pool places if you're in a group, Pool 8, and the two Time Off locations. All are downtown. Time Off has excellent snacks.
Catch a movie - You can catch good Latin American movies some Wednesdays at 7PM at the theater near Art Cafe (a bar) near the Parque de las Palmas. The Art Cafe is near Hotel Beneficial Las Palmas and is within walking distance to the hotel.
City Tour through Mana-Ahuac Hoy. See the city with the most complete tour available. Half-day and full-day visits available, as well as custom itineraries. Mana-Ahuac Hoy.
Find out what festivals are going on when you are visiting with the Guide to Festivals and Events in Nicaragua
If you do not have the time to go to Masaya for handicrafts, go to the Mercado Huembes where you will find everything from souvenirs to hammocks, and paintings. Ask anyone how to get there.
Galeria Codice, Colonial Los Robles,. Excellent place to buy art (including paintings) and top-quality souvenirs/artesania from all over Nicaragua. As might be expected, though, items are pricey here.
Mercado Oriental, Calle 15 de Setiembre. Listed here reluctantly but, hey, there are always tourists who can't resist the thrill of being in a dangerous place. And it is famous. Check in the safety section below for further information on this interesting shopping experience.
It may be safer and saner to do your shopping in places like the Mercado Huembes and Metrocentro. Pick-pocketing and grab-and-run theft are regular occurrences in the Mercado Oriental.
Service is impeccable. They serve a churrasco that is hard to beat for flavor and tenderness. Order it with a gin Martini for appetizer. Located about 3 blocks north of estatua de Montoya.
La Plancha, Steak house at its best and finest. Dare you to try it and not say its one of the best steaks you ever had tried in your life. Their signature plate is the name of the restaurant: La Plancha. Comes with mashed potatoes and plantains on a hot grill.
Le Cafe de Paris, the best French restaurant in town. Taken care personally by its proprietor and chef, Jeaninne. Very good wines. Ask for its famous foie gras, green salad and pepper steak. Located in Los Robles.
Asados El Gueguense, great local cuisine. Large selection of local meat dishes.
La Cocina de Doña Haydee: a good taste of local Nicaraguan cuisine. 3 Locations - Original off the Carretera Masaya km 4.5 (not far from Metrocentro), another near the Rotonda Bello Horizonte and the last in the food court at Metrocentro.
A good breakfast is Leche Agria, a homemade yogurt like drink. Look for signs advertising it in store fronts and pulperias. Put a little salt on it and eat it with tortilla.
Casa del Cafe for good coffee and breakfast. Three locations, one in Los Robles, one on the second floor of Metrocentro, and one in Galerias Santo Domingo.
Sushi Itto, in case you have a craving. Three locations, one in Carretera Masaya in Plaza Familiar, one in Galerias Santo Domingo, and one in Plaza Caracol.
La Cueva del Buzo, great seafood freshly caught. Must go if you can afford it.
El Rincon Salvadoreno, fantastic Salvadorian pupusas and fruit juices in a pleasant outdoor area.
RostiPollos, specializes in roast and rotisserie chicken dishes, with sides such as salads and fries in a more Central American style. The name RostiPollos means as roasty chicken. Entrees reflect traditional Central American cuisine.
Toro Huaco, in the Zona Rosa across from the Picoteo. Outdoor restaurant bar that is comfortable with large groups. Sit under the stars on clear nights. Open mic night on Thursdays for joke telling is good night to get to know the Nicaraguan sense of humor. Owner speaks English fluently.
Music Lounge, 2 blocks north of the Texaco in Altamira. Outdoor/indoor music bar that plays a range of music. Nice lighting and atmosphere. Show up with friends.
HipaHipa. Exclusive Club on Carretera Masaya. Entrance can be 150 cordobas, parties wed/fri/sat.
Moods, in Galeria Santo Domingo located on Carretera Masaya. Fanciest and Hippest disco in Managua. Entrance can be from 150 cordobas to 300 cordobas, parties W-Sa.
Broder, in Zona Rosa. Disco with entry fee up to 150 cordobas, parties Th-Sa.
Arribas, in Zona Rosa on top of Broder. A good atmosphere, sometimes live music.
Art Cafe. Art Cafe is a very nice place for listening to live alternative music and have a tranquil evening. It has a colorful bohemian looks and art on their walls and in the vibe of the place and the people that frequent it in general. Go there by taxi, ask for Art Cafe, en frente del Parque las Palmas.
There are tons of bars in the area south of the big BAC building downtown, find an abandoned place called Lacmiel and head east to find this zone.
There are also a few bars and restaurants around Zona Hippos. Woody's has good wings, Pirata's is a popular local restaurant/bar and Tercer Ojo is a more upscale resto-lounge with fusion cuisine. This area is west of the traffic light at Hilton Princess and La Union supermarket.
The Zona Rosa is an area with bars and restaurants that has sprung up in what was once a mostly residential area. It is located south of the BAC building. Highlights include Pharaoh's casino, Casa del Cafe, bars east of Lacmiel, la Casa del Baho restaurant, and Hipa Hipa bar.
Last but not least there are also bars and restaurants in the new Zona Viva in Galerias Santo Domingo
Los Balcones, 505-255-0031, ending 2 and 3,near the Spanish embassy in Las Colinas close to Managua is a family run hotel with rooms that start at $25/night. 24 hour security. The owner speaks English, but the rest of the family and the principals of the staff don't. Breakfast is available.
Rooms have air conditioning and cable, wireless internet for free, refrigerator, pool, safe parking. The Hotel's slogan is One Bed - One Bathroom The only downside is the traffic during the day if you're on the street side of the hotel - luckily, not when you are sleeping.
A big plus is the view of downtown Managua from the balconies. Some mornings are just amazing.
Bolonia, home of Hotel Santos, contains a host of $5-15/night negotiable hostels within a few blocks of the Tica Bus station. Walk around and visit a few before you choose one.
Crowne Plaza, This is one of the nicest Crown Plazas around. The service is impeccable, the pool is very nice, and there's marble everywhere. There's a casino and a sushi restaurant, several more restaurants within walking distance, and a small shopping mall across the street.
Get a room with lake view and you will see clearly all the way to Teatro Nacional Ruben Dario, the old cathedral, and the old and new government buildings. This hotel was the Intercontinental for years until the new Intercontinental was built at Metrocentro.
Before the 1972 earthquake that destroyed Managua, this hotel sat on the hill overlooking the whole city right next to the main military base and Somoza's bunker. It's where everyone who was anyone stayed in Nicaragua until the early 1990's.
The EEBI the elite force of the Guardia Nacional during Somoza's time and the military academy were a short walk away. It's as if the U.S. advisers and politicos had a dorm right next to the Somoza government. Howard Hughes stayed here when he was in Nicaragua in the 1970's.
It is said that he rented three floors for weeks and demanded that the staff not rotate. He met with Somoza about some business, but nothing came of it. Rooms go for $90-120 a night.
Hospedaje Luciernaga Radio Sandino 75 mts east,US for a room with private Bathroom close to the Trans-Nica-Bus Terminal, Taxi ca. 1 US.
Hotel Beneficial Las Palmas, De la estatua de Montoya, 3 cuadras al Oeste,1½ cuadra al Norte Turn right at the Bridgestone Tire by the Statue Montoya. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 2:00. Hotel Beneficial is next to the Parque Las Palmas.
King bed, internet in every room, cable tv, air conditioning, and access to the pool. Computers are in the lobby for free use. Beverages and snacks are available 24 hours a day. Full breakfast is included always cooked fresh for each guest. Lunch and dinners are available at reasonable rates. 53.00 includes tax..
Hotel Colon, south of the BAC building, east of Lacmiel about 2 blocks, is nice, clean and comfortable, yet reasonable and charming. Double occupancy rooms were $68 or $53 for a less nice room as of 1/2007 with AC and cable TV. Breakfast included, free parking in front.
Hotel Dulce Hogar B&B, Bosques de Altamira Avenida principal El Chipote #449. checkin: 2:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 PM. A small, nice and cozy family run hotel - clean and safe. Friendly staff.
The hotel is located on the main avenue of a 1970's founded residential neighborhood in west side of Managua with an increasing commercial transformation since 1995. 8 comfortable rooms for one, two or three guests with full breakfast included.
Air conditioning, private bathroom, hot water shower, hair dryer, remote controlled cable TV, radio-alarm clock, in-room safe box and telephone. Free wireless internet access at and computer use in business center. Cafeteria service by demand. 24Hrs reception and video surveillance. $30-$50.
Hotel Europa has clean, comfortable rooms for about $30/night. It is owned by a Spanish guy. Located near the Crowne Plaza one block al lago, one west, one block al lago.
Hotel Yolaina, From semaforos de enitel Villa Fontana 200 meters west, 50 meters north, 50 meters east, 3 minutes from Pharaohs, Chinese Embassy, and Zona Hippos. checkin: 1 PM; checkout: 11 AM. 24 rooms, each equipped with air conditioning, hot water, wireless Internet, and cable TV.
Hotel has 24-hour security, a pool and breakfast is included. Manager speaks English. Airport pickup/dropoff is available. Rooms are $35-$50 per night with discounted rates for long term stays.
Managua Backpackers Inn,Colonial Los Robles, 3era etapa, Casa #55, De donde fue Chaman 75 varas al sur. Dorms from $8 per night. This hostel is centrally located and the surroundings are very clean and secure.
Airport transfers take 30 minutes, and a shuttle service is available for guests. Dormitory or private rooms, shared kitchen, pool, hot showers, air conditioning, free wireless internet and a relaxed comfortable atmosphere.
Mansion Teodolinda,has nice rooms with air conditioning, cable TV, a pool and a restaurant. It was the well known house of a family until the revolution, hence it is a landmark and reference point for addresses.
The original building was destroyed by the 1972 earthquake, remaining as an empty lot. In 1991 the land was purchased and in 1993 opened to the public with only 7 rooms. As a family business it has been slowly growing up to 42 rooms, with a restaurant, meeting facilities, swimming pool.
It is located near Hospital Militar three streets north and two streets west. A double room with breakfast included goes for about $60.
Real InterContinental Metrocentro Managua, Costado Sur Centro Comercial Metrocentro, carretera Masaya. 157 rooms with wireless high speed internet, 7 suites, rooms and executive floors. Also includes a restaurant and bar, gym, spa, pool, gift shop and print service. $150-600.
Santos Guest House is the most renowned budget place in town or at least the cheapest $7/night/person (June 2011). This place might be handy for backpackers. Don't expect too much from the DIY plumbing and electrical wiring, but you will get your own bathroom/shower.
Viva Nicaragua Guesthouse, Km 17.5 Ticuantepe. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. Viva Guesthouse is a small B&B style hotel with a pool, secure area, air conditioning, private rooms/baths, wi-fi and cable TV. Viva also owns Viva Spanish School in Managua. Extended-stay rates available. $39.
Backpackers Manahuac, Hotel Seminole 1 cuadra al oeste y 4 1/2 cuadras al sur. about 4 blocks from la UCA bus terminal. $10 dorms. $15 privates.
Casa Lucia Bed & Breakfast, A nice little place in Managua, located in Los Robles close to Metrocentro a very nice area of Managua. Is a family run B&B with great personality, Claudio and Margarita will threat you as an old friend of the family.
If your are looking for something authentic, comfortable and affordable this is the place. Price starts at $35/night, for a private room with bathroom, A/C, delicious Nicaraguan breakfast and Wi-Fi. The coffee is the best. The location is convinient to restaurants, and bars.
Airport shuttles are available at the place.
Though Nicaragua has been historically ranked as the safest country by INTERPOL, Managua is another story, and crime is highly opportunistic in nature. Targets are often tourists or outsiders, unlike drug trafficker and user related crime elsewhere in Latin America.
Neither Nicaragua nor the city of Managua have major gang problems, in comparison to some of its regional neighbors.The number of gang members was estimated at 4,500 throughout the country, lower than all of its Northern neighbors in the region except Belize.
In 2003, the National Police of Nicaragua recognized gangs committed only 0.51% of all crimes. In 1991, there were 110 gangs in Managua, in 2001 the number of gangs reduced to 96 gangs with a total of 1,725 members.
Over the next 3–4 years the number of gangs and gang members both decreased and increased. In late 2005 the number of gangs and members decreased significantly to 34 gangs and their 706 members in Managua, these represented 38% and 32% of the national total of gangs and its members.
Chief of Police, Aminta Granera, stated that vehicles robberies has reduced; as only 200 reports were filed in 2006.
Its is advisable to completely avoid the city, take only taxi or bus, and not walk any residential paths you are unfamiliar with, even in daylight.
It is also advised that tourists refrain from using foreign currency in local transactions. It is best to have the local currency instead of having to convert with individuals on streets or non-tourist areas.
Banks in Nicaragua require identification for any currency conversion transactions, it is best to utilize ATM machines that dispense the local currency. When using ATM machines, utilize precautions and be aware of your surroundings.
Make sure you are in a well frequented area and ensure yourself that the ATM has not been altered in any way or form. Some thieves alter ATM machines with chips that can steal credit card numbers and personal information.
This type of crime is rare, but it should be noted that an increase in foreign tourism has stimulated the increase of this crime. Tourists are also advised to make sure that they stay on top of their credit card or debit card transactions via online banking. Any suspicious transactions should be reported immediately.
Traveling around Managua is relatively simple, but as in any major city, tourists are advised to exercise basic caution. When traveling to the Mercado Oriental, tourists are advised to go in groups and avoid the use of chains, necklaces and other valuables.
Although Police Officers are available in and around the market, the market tends to be very full and thus it can be hard to find any person who steals your valuables. Tourists are also advised to be cautions around the outskirts of downtown, the area between MetroCentro and the BAC building.
Several muggings have occured around this area. The area around the tica bus station has been deemed unsafe for tourists by the Nicaraguan police due to the high volumes of people moving around. If you must go, take a taxi to and from there.
When traveling around the city of Managua or around Nicaragua, there are several transporation alternatives. Popular options include buses and taxis, both of which have different rider standards and different precautions.
Buses in Nicaragua tend to be old school buses that transport people and goods to market. These are colloquially called Chicken Buses. Much like the Argentine collectivo, it uses the honor system on travelers and charges based on the distance one travels.
It is relatively the most inexpensive option, allowing tourists to travel to major tourist attractions and other destinations. However, these buses can be extremely crowded and tight in terms of space.
An overhead rack tends to be provided for the storage of bags and other items, but tourists are recommended to keep their bags at hand, in their sight, at all times. If you are carrying something valuable and fear the potential loss of theft of it, you are advised to put a lock on your bag.
Tourists are also advised to not carry large sums of money in their pockets. On crowded buses especially during rush hour, thieves can rob you without you noticing. In addition, do not wear any expensive jewelry on the bus.
It can be taken from you without your notice due to the high volumes of passengers that board buses. Buses in local urban and interurban routes are not air conditioned, and thus, tourists should ensure that their window is open provided they are seated.
There are also Express Buses in the form of mini-vans. These buses provide express inter-city transport at a higher price compared to the standard local Chicken Bus. This form of transport is also cost-friendly, but extremely tight in terms of space.
Tourists cannot carry any heavy cargo. Small purses and book bags are fine, but tourists are advised to exercise the same caution as they would on a Chicken Bus.
There are two forms of Taxis in Managua: Collectivos and Privados Collectives and Privates.
Collective taxis work similar to buses: they pick up passengers on the route that you travel on. Usually this means that 3-4 passengers ride in a car with a common or similar destination.
This is the fastest transport available in Managua, the cost is also friendly given that the fare is split evenly among the riders. However, collective taxis are also risky given the fact that organized crime has flourished in this transportation sector because of fixed passengers.
In other words, drivers already know who they pick up and thus mug the one extra passenger. This crime, however, is not common, but it is the one with the highest chance of being mugged.
Private taxis are the most popular option among tourists. The taxi is yours and picks up no one along the way. The fastest service in Managua also is the most expensive.
These taxis have the most space and the most personal protection. If you have cargo, ensure that you hail a taxi that has a trunk. Not all cars are equipped with one.
When riding taxis, tourists are strongly recommended to close their windows. Leaving windows open allows one to be robbed while in the car and exposes one to beggars and other service givers. Most tourists consider this a nuisance, and so do locals.
Air conditioners do not always work on street-hailed cars. In any case, radio-dispached cars are readily available particularly from resorts and hotels and offer the same amenities luxury car services offer at roughly the same price as their North American counterparts.
Granada, Oldest colonial town in the American continent. It has beautiful colorful and picturesque churches. While you're there, take a 2 hour tour of the Granada Isletas or Islands, 365 in total and home to many tropical birds and monkeys.
Also while there take a zipline jungle canopy tour of the impresssive volcanoe Motombo, which looms large over the pueblo. While in Granada be sure to go out on a La Calzada, a hip street host to lots of street musicians and a great, relaxed youth vibe with varied, cheap and delicious food options abounding.
Pochomil & Masachapa, 1 hour or 70 kms from Managua. Montelimar, Masachapa, Pochomil and Pochomil Viejo are the closest beaches from Managua. Montelimar is a private hotel, Masachapa is a fisherman's town with hostals, B&B, bars, restaurants and fisherman's market.
Pochomil is located 2 kms South of Masachapa and is a public resort, very popular among Managua residents who arrive in hundreds of buses to spend the day and eat fish and ceviche at the local palapas, there are some private homes who share the beach as well as hotels.
Pochomil Viejo is a more exclusive beach located 3 kms south of Pochomil, full of private homes and vacation rentals. The Masachapa-Pochomil beach extends over 25 kms uninterrupted until reaching La Boquita, a great ride to do on a quad bike.
Many facilities are available, such as horseback riding, motorcycle rides, surfing, turtle watching, and more.
Closest beaches from Managua. There are several beaches in the area, Montelimar, Masachapa, Pochomil and Pochomil Viejo. Masachapa and Pochomil are popular with many restaurants, hostals, B&B and bars, Montelimar is a private resort and Pochomil Viejo is an exclusive beach with private homes and vacation rental homes.
It is a large beach where you can enjoy horseback riding, motorcycle rides, surfing, turtle watching, etc.
Somoto,home of the Somoto Canyon and authentic Nicaraguan villages in the Northern Highlands of the country.
From Managua, depart from Mercado Mayoreo and either take a direct bus or any bound for Esteli or Ocotal can easily transfer to Somoto from these locations. The bus station in town is walking distance to almost everything.
La Laguna del Apoyo, An amazing lagoon preserve over three kilometers wide at about 400 meters elevation, crystal clear waters and an impressive jungled volcanic rim of 200 meters.
Scuba diving is available along with just relaxing by the water side with various resorts,$6 for a steak dinner and $0.45 beers catering to different clients, from young European university students to family venues. Bring a camera.
Ometepe, In the middle of epic Lake Nicaragua 19th largest in the world and a short taxi, then ferry ride from Granada you have Ometepe, an island of two jungle covered tropical oasis home to great eco tourism, virgin jungle and great hikes to waterfalls and the summit of either the active volcano Conception ten hours round trip or the inactive Maderas eight hours round trip.
You are required by law to hire a guide for these hikes. There is an incredible and rather secret swim spot called Ojos del Agua, which is a great pool with a rope swing in a wonderful spot and for a very good price.
Also popular are shore side horseback riding along the roads until you reach one of several crystal clear water lagoons up on the mountainside over 300 meters across. Other activities on the island include bike rentals to explore, and kayak/paddle boat rentals.
Masaya Volcano National Park, Excellent park featuring a smoking, active volcano, a visitors center with historical and geological displays. Watch the crater fumes rise to the sky. Climb the steps to the Bobadilla Cross.
The steps to the cross are closed due to instability in the ground that supports them. See the flocks of bright green parrots who live in the volcano's walls. Guided walks to a bat-filled cave are available in the evenings.
Caribbean Coast, Daily flights are available to Nicaragua's Atlantic coastline, where tropical reefs and small offshore islands offer a very different view of the country.
Try to specially visit Corn Island and try their fresh garlic butter shrimp and other seafood that gets freshly caught each day. Swim in beautiful turquoise water or take a glass bottom boat ride and/or scuba diva in the coral reefs.
Pacific Beaches, Try going to one of Nicaragua's best and most popular destinations: San Juan del Sur, who plays host to the best surf in Central America with many unpopulated beaches hosting world class waves in the area accessible through four wheel drive vehicles.
Popoyo beach is known to host 25 foot offshore faces on waves in season, but with so much selection and quality it isn't hard to find and empty beach for anyone's tastes.
This is a mellow beach town that has from $6 hostels to $70 nice hotels up to expensive condo rentals and with increased interest in tourism the local food can be fresh seafood from $3.00 without international tourists fearing foodborne ilness due to increased standards.
The market and beach front offer extensive dining opportunties at $5 a big dinner. There is something for every pocket. While in San Juan del Sur try to visit nearby practically unpopulated beaches of majagual and marsella, among others.
For a more comfortable tourist scene you could always visit Montelimar Beach Resort which is like 10 minutes from Pochomil Beach in the pacific. Rooms average of $75 all inclusive buffet, soft and alcoholic drinks.
Volcano Cerro Negro, A fine black sand active volcano piercing the clouds, several companies take you up to the top slopes where you go down on a sled. It's dependent on the rider but speeds of 30 mph have been achieved.
Be prepared though, this is not the safest of adventures and certainly not a good idea for kids. The black volcanic sand is hot and sharp and injuries, while usually rather minor, are quite common. It is still a worthy and once in a lifetime opportunity.